Vail Daily letter: John King seeks Eagle seat
Vail, CO, Colorado
The town of Eagle faces many challenges today, but the most contentious is the Eagle River Station development proposal.
The town of Eagle and most of the communities in Eagle County have implemented “smart growth” policies over the last 20 years. These policies are what have allowed many to move into these communities and relish the smalltown ambiance which these policies maintain.
Now we are faced with nationwide economic troubles. There are those that because of these economic issues would throw caution to the wind and allow any project presented for the false hope of the goose that will lay the golden egg. This approach is very short-sighted.
If these “smart growth” policies were right before, they are still correct. Developers and their proposals will come and go. Our greatest asset as a community is that we have an extremely desirable place to call home. Because of this there will always be developers wanting to build in our community.
We can afford to wait for a project that will provide a great amount of public benefit coupled with a project that truly fits our smalltown feel.
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Let me take a few moments to dispel some claims being made by RED Development. First RED proudly claims to have listened to the residents’ comments and therefore changed the 550 residential units from for-sale to rental.
The truth, however, is that there is no deed restriction or planned unit development guide requirement for these units to remain rentals. RED can put these on the for sale market at any time and with 550 units to sell, can price them well below our already depressed market price. Think about how this will affect the value of your property.
Secondly, RED states that the town will receive revenue from building permit and water and sewer tap fees. The truth is that these fees only reimburse the town for costs that have been or will be incurred as a result of plan review and inspection costs and additional load placed on our water and sewer treatment plants.
If this was true revenue, then I would like the town to explain what happened to the revenue received from the building permit and water and sewer tap fees paid by all of the new homes built in the Eagle Ranch development.
Lastly, RED states and our town manager and current mayor have agreed that there is no financial exposure to the taxpayers should RED default on the infrastructure bonds. While this statement is true at face value, the discussion stops short of the real issue.
Let’s say that RED has defaulted on the bonds and therefore the ERS Metro District is defunct. Who do you think will have to maintain this infrastructure, plow snow from the streets and maintain the landscaping?
This will all fall to the town of Eagle taxpayer. This scenario played out very recently as the Eagle Ranch Metro District failed to meet its projected revenue. As such the Metro District Board was forced to raise the Eagle Ranch mill levy in order to continue to provide the same level of services to its residents.
Honestly, if this is such a great project, wouldn’t just the truth be enough to convince the voters?
These are just a few examples of half truths being propagated by the developer. Of this we should not be surprised. What we should be surprised and outraged about is that with a few exceptions, our planning commission, Town Board, town planner and town manager have failed to expose the full story to the residents of Eagle.
I understand that there are proponents of Eagle River Station. They have every right to their opinions. However, I would think that they, too, would be concerned that the full truth about this project has not been discussed.
I believe that the voters are very smart. They will provide the direction that they want the town to follow. The voters deserve to make a decision based on all of the facts. We all should be concerned that the current leadership has chosen to allow these half truths and fabrications to go unchallenged.
I have decided to run for town trustee after conversations with many of my friends and neighbors whose opinions I greatly respect, and who agree with me that our current Town Board has lost touch with just exactly who works for whom.
I was born in and grew up in western Colorado. This has always been my home and always will be. I served proudly for 10 years as a member of the Eagle County Planning Commission and was chairman for two of those years. My professional background is construction, but like many in the current economy have had to change paths and now am very happy to be employed by the town of Vail.
I strongly believe that it is the duty of the Town Board and town staff to follow the will of the voter-taxpayer. I believe it is the responsibility of the Town Board and staff to respond to the voter-taxpayer in a timely and respectful manner.
I believe that the Town Board and staff should protect the interest of the existing town voters and businesses which have been the backbone of this community for years before they promote the interests of a developer from out of state.
The proponents of ERS continue to tout the jobs and tax revenue that they believe this project will develop. I have yet to hear any of these proponents talk about a beautiful project with a great pedestrian feel and multiple amenities for the town. Simply because this project provides none of these features.
Currently, the Town of Eagle’s slogan is “Eagle, Classic Colorado.” I grew up in classic Colorado and know what that means and really like what that says about our community. I’m afraid that if we allow RED Development to build ERS, we will need a new slogan. What about “Eagle, we sold our soul for a buck”? Is this really the community we want to live in?
I would be very proud to serve you as a trustee and can promise that although we may not always agree, I will always listen to your position and work hard to find a compromise that will serve to make the town of Eagle a home we can be proud of.
Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly and most importantly, please vote so your voice can be heard.
John A. King
Candidate for Eagle Town Board